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Bron Thomson, Kat Lintott and David Hallett on how technology has helped make them a better human

Technology often gets a bad rap for the effect it is having on our wellbeing – just look at the Netflix series Black Mirror. If you paid attention to the reports, you might think devices are only transforming us in the worst kind of ways. We’re addicted to our screens and the dopamine hit that comes from each like or comment, the details of our lives being displayed online is making us increasingly anxious, invisible algorithms are swaying our opinions to become more polarised, and on top of all that, tech is making us more isolated and less social than ever. But for all the problems that have arisen, technology is also a medium that can spark magic. For some, it’s helped lessen their effect on the environment. For others, it’s helped them broadcast their ideas to the world. We reached out to a range of people in business and asked them to share how technology has rewired their lives, for the better. Here's Springload's Bron Thomson, Wrestler's Kat Lintott and Company-X's David Hallett. 

Bron Thomson, CEO of Springload

What technology platform/app/programme/invention do you love that has helped make you a better human?

There are so many! From a productivity perspective, there are heaps of different tools that help me keep track of all the things in my brain. 

Right now though, something that's helping make me a better human is an app called Centr. It's a daily exercise, food and wellness app. I hate going to the gym, so I can use this to exercise from home in a variety of ways – from yoga, to weights, to cardio. And it's got good mindfulness and recipe ideas too. Perfect! 

When has technology helped you accomplish something truly transformational?

I'm just loving Goalscape at the moment. It's a web app that helps you visualise all your goals, and your progress towards them, in one circular and holistic view. I've used this as a way to visualise and prioritise my personal goals, but it's been even more of a help towards visualising the goals of my business, Springload. We've got four strategic pillars, so this has been a great way to visualise each pillar, all the different sub-goals, and then see progress against them at both a micro and macro level. The only down side is that it requires Flash to use, although I think they're working on upgrading it as we speak.

Kat Lintott, co-founder of Wrestler

What technology platform/app/programme/invention do you love that has helped make you a better human?

I think that Instagram and messenger has been great to keep me in contact with people that I would never have kept in contact with if they didn't exist. So in that way, it’s helped me have more friends, and be a better friend! The other tech that has helped me would be VR headsets and Unreal engine. They've helped me to connect with my body and mind more through an interactive experience we're developing about connecting the body and the mind. VR can be really disconnecting from the body and the mind, so it's about trying to achieve the opposite and we're really close! 

When has technology helped you accomplish something truly transformational?

Unreal has helped us to re-invent a new pipeline for content that’s meant we can create a world and push it to whatever platform we think is needed way cheaper and faster than before, with amazing results. We're developing a kids show that's built all in engine and from the build we can create an immersive VR interaction, an AR game, mobile game, PC game and a five minute pilot episode. NZFC helped fund the R&D of this with their interactive development fund and it's been super successful. What's also transformative about Unreal is its free to develop on so as long as you can get access to a computer. Learning (through YouTube tutorials) and building (in Unreal) this way is free.

David Hallett, director of Company-X

What technology platform/app/programme/invention do you love that has helped make you a better human?

No particular technology per se has made me a better human, but Under Armour's App MyFitnessPal has certainly contributed to making me a healthier human. MyFitnessPal is the smartphone app I use for tracking both my diet and exercise to assist with achieving my optimal caloric and nutrient intake. The app enables me to set goals and uses gamification elements to motivate behaviour. To capture calorie and nutrients details, I either scan the barcode on packaged food or manually select items from their database of over five million different foods. In my occupation I attend a lot of social events and have delicious business lunches, constantly tempting me to overindulge. Hence with a 'fitness pal' by my side throughout the day, it has helped me to proactively make good diet and health-related decisions. This assists in the overarching improvement in my physical and mental wellbeing.

When has technology helped you accomplish something truly transformational?

I'm one of the co-founders of the The NZ Startup Bootcamp. It is New Zealand's largest business start-up competition, and was developed to encourage ambitious people to take their innovative ideas and turn them into a business reality whilst participating in a fast-paced entrepreneurial weekend. Technology underpins all aspects of the bootcamp, starting from social media used to promote and advertise, the entry videos received from the applicants, communication apps used for sending emails and making video calls during market validation, business intelligence and modelling tools for analysing copious amounts of relevant data, through to the collaboration tools used for creating their entries, and the tech utilised onstage during their final pitches. Through this process, the lives of many participants are completely and truly transformed, by creating or nurturing belief in themselves and their capabilities that are desired and have a place in our modern world.

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